An Alzheimer's story

Posted at 8:42 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 22:42:17-04

The early signs of Alzheimer's can be hard to spot...Partly because its human nature to make excuses for mistakes or lapses in a loved one.
    A lot of people at Six On Your Side have been through that with our loved ones.

    And we wanted to share a common story that makes the walk to end Alzheimer's so important..
It revolves around Danny McLamore, who had his prime like anyone else,
A marathon runner and a devoted family man.
But now, a shell of his former self.

Six On Your Side News Director Grendel Levy explains.
"He'd always been fearless to me.  But now it's more like talking to a child sometimes."
Grendel has witnessed Alzheimer's twice:  once with her beloved grandma, and again with her father.
She first recognized it in her dad while watching him drive.

"It was obvious there was a big one way sign and he turned right into oncoming traffic.  That was the first sign for me," she remembers, "But I still blew that off.  We all did."
Denial is a common reaction as Grendel's son Randy explains.

"You tend to make excuses and try to logically justify things because your brain just doesn't want to accept it."
And Randy says love is at the heart of the denial.

"He was always there for me and always my friend.  A lot of good times."
Today, Grendel's mom lives with Danny in a house, but it takes the whole family to keep track of him.
He's just walked out several times, and gotten lost.

"It tears my heart up," says Grendel, "because iIve called police and they've issued alerts for my father."
For Grendel's 10 year old daughter Angelina, who's very close to her grandpa, Alzheimer's is still a bit confounding.

"I know he knows something is wrong," she says, "but I don't know what he thinks is wrong.  But I do know he knows there's something wrong."
Her much older brother Randy is able to put it all in painful context.

"You think about losing someone you care about and mmost people think of it as an instant.  They're there and then they're gone. With this it's not like that.  You lose bits and pieces at a time."
And that's a fate no one should face, and far too many still are.

    It's time to find a cure for Alzheimer's... and money for research is the key.
    So, get out and join a team for the Walk to end Alzheimer's this weekend.
    Or donate to a team member who's raising money.
    And remember, the life you save could be your own.